GOT QUESTIONS?

MATT SPAUGH PHOTOGRAPHY

FREQUENTLY ASKED HEADSHOT QUESTIONS

Do I really need a professional headshot?

If you have an online presence then yes, you need a professional headshot. There was a time when only professional actors and actresses needed headshots. Thankfully for headshot photographers those days are long gone. Certainly, any actress or actor who is not updating their headshot regularly should be, but these days almost everyone should have an up to date headshot.

If you’re an individual, your presence on social media and professional sites can be first visual impression someone will get of you. Making that first impression with professional headshot can make the difference in how you’re perceived and ensure that both professional and personal relationships get off on the right foot. If you have a web page for your business a headshot is a must-have element for your “About" section. If you’re looking for a match on a dating website and we all know that we are judged first by our looks. That vacation picture you’ve cropped everyone else out of is not going to do the job. You’ll hear it again and again on this site: Headshots tell a story. If your story needs to be one of a confident, approachable professional, get a professional headshot.

How often should I update my headshot?

Actors, actresses, and those in the performing arts should have headshots done annually. Children and teenagers in performing arts should update their headshot more frequently as their appearance changes more rapidly. For corporate environments, photos can be scheduled whenever a new employee comes on board and those whose appearance has changed significantly should have updated photos taken.

What about my hair?

Your portrait should show you at your best, and hair is an integral part of that look. If you have a stylist you visit regularly, and trust, I suggest going to them, not someone new. Unless you are coming directly from your stylist to your shoot, plan to go a few days beforehand. This will allow the cut or style to set-in a bit. For men, consider the image you want to portray. If you’re clean cut and professional, show up looking that way. If you prefer a 5 o'clock shadow and wear it well, show up as is. Here comes that line again, headshots tell a story. The important thing is to take some time well in advance of your session to consider the story you want to tell and make sure your look fits that narrative. If you prefer to have a stylist on-site for your shoot we have a number of professionals who can help. Contact the studio for more information.

What about makeup?

Don’t overdo it. Modern photography captures incredible detail and an over abundance of makeup rarely flatters. That said, it’s important to know that studio lighting can wash out color from your face, so it is important to wear at least light makeup. Eye makeup, especially mascara and eyeliner, can emphasize your eyes. Lipstick with a matte finish photographs well. Powder is recommended to keep shine off your face so there is no glare on the finished portrait. If you prefer to have a stylist on-site for your shoot we have a number of professionals who can help. Contact the studio for more information.

Do you retouch your images?

All pricing includes basic retouching and color correction. My retouching philosophy is that if God gave it to you, I’m not the one to take it away. Temporary blemishes that will be gone in a few days or few weeks will be removed and slight variations in skin tone can be made less noticable. I can reduce the presence of scars, moles, birthmarks, or any other permanent facial feature and minimize the effects of natural aging to a degree but removing them altogether would present a false image the viewer of your photo and be misleading. The human eye is incredibly discerning, and an overly retouched image is readily perceived as implausible. Beyond that, they are simply not my style. My desire is to shoot pleasing, comfortable, flattering but accurate images that… wait for it… tell a story. Additional retouching at your specific direction is available for an hourly fee.


Female Teen Actress Headshot
Asian sisters portrait
African-American Child Portriat
Casual Headshot

Do I Have to come to the studio?

No. While the studio provides control over every aspect of your images, working in your office environment can be a great way to give presence and purpose to your headshot. Whether you need a single image, or want to photograph your entire staff, shooting headshots onsite saves time. Also, for large numbers of employees, shooting in your office space will ensure consistency in the look and feel of the finished images. With a minimal amount of space and some time for set up, I can create a relaxing environment where your employees will look their best.

Shooting onsite provides a great way to get a number of headshots quickly and conveniently. Contact the studio with your location, number of individuals to be photographed for additional information on group locations photography.

What are environmental headshots?

Environmental headshots are images that do not have the smooth or textured background associated with most headshot photos. Usually taken in your office (the environment), these images tend to have a more natural feel. Shooting someone at their desk for instance has an immediacy to it that a standard headshot does not have. Environmental headshots also tell more of a story because of the ability to add elements that help set a mood or tone for your photo. It is important when shooting in any environment to ensure that the person being photographed is still the hero of the image. Images that get too busy or try to include too many elements can quickly lose their impact.

How Long will it take to shoot my headshot?

1/200th of a second - technically speaking, that's the shutter speed for headshot photos in the studio. The reality is, that it usually takes a little longer than that. Most single image headshot sessions are wrapped up on 30 minutes or less. All sessions start with a brief consultation about the purpose of your images and image you want to project. When we begin shooting, we'll review the images as we go so we will work together until we have an image everyone is happy with. My pricing is based loosely on time, but is more about the number of final images you want. I've done sessions in as little as 5 minutes and I've spent full days getting a range of shots for customers.

What should I wear to the session?

Wear something you like. Wear something that fits well. Wear something you’re comfortable in and something that you feel is flattering. Headshots are about confidence and ill-fitting clothing that you’re uncomfortable in or that does not fit well will not allow you to relax. Headshots are also about your face, your expression, your unique features so I strongly recommend against anything that will compete with the face. Bright colors and strong patterns can quickly complicate a headshot. However, subtle textures can add depth and serve to highlight the face. Solid colors and subtle textures work extremely well. Your attire should reflect who you are, but as a rule, neutral solids are always a safe bet. Headshots for digital media are used at wide range of sizes - mostly small - so simplicity is key for your image to reproduce well. Jewelry is at your discretion but again, simple is better.

What should I do before my session?

Bring yourself and an outfit or two. If you’re unsure about your attire, bring several outfits and we can work together to find something that will work well. If possible, schedule your day to be as stress free and relaxed as possible. Stress and tiredness will come through in your photos. While it’s important to think about who this photo will be communicating to and the persona you want to portray, the most important thing you can do is to relax. Most people do not like being in the crosshairs of a photographer’s lens. If you have questions or concerns about how things will run, timing, anything - contact the studio. My biggest job as a photographer is to help you be yourself in front of the camera. Anything you can do to help me out in that endeavor will ensure that we have a great time and get photos you’re proud of.

Why are your headshots cropped horizontally instead of vertically?

The standard 8x10 vertical headshot can look dated. When shooting performing artists, I always will opt for horizontal, cinematic cropping. You’ll notice too, like to get both shoulders in the frame, and I prefer to crop the very top of the head (people know it’s there - I’ve done the research). In my experience, allowing a little extra room around the face, pushing the subject slightly off-center, and focusing on the eyes creates an engaging image with a fresh look. Many social media outlets and other sites use a square crop, I always keep this in mind as well when framing my subject. That said, if you need a full-body image or just prefer to have a more standard cropping to you images, I'm happy to oblige.

Why should I choose you for my headshot?

Every photographer has a particular style. Look at my portfolio and you’ll quickly see mine. If you like the work, I may be the right match for you. Read my testimonials and take the word of my many satisfied clients. Price is always a concern but hopefully is not the main determining factor in your photographer choice. I’m not the cheapest and I’m certainly not the most expensive but I think I offer good value for your money.

I bring to the table is technical expertise, an eye for detail, and a strong desire to create images you’ll be pleased to share. I want to portray a confident, approachable look that is above all, natural and relaxed. I want you to enjoy the experience. One of the most satisfying parts of my job is having someone come into the studio who is uptight and nervous and watching them relax, enjoy the process, have fun, and leave content.


Cousins Portrait
Boy headshot
Soccer Kid
Young Girl Headshot

Do you only shoot headshots?

Headshots are my focus but if it's got a face I'll shoot it! As it says in my bio, "I love watching light do what light does on the human face". I choose to focus on headshots because of the huge positive impact they can have on a person's life. After years of shooting architectural work, product photography and even events I found that personalities are what I love to capture. At that time I intentionally shifted by focus to headshots and portrait work and dedicated hours educating myself in the art. Every shoot is a learning experience and I never get tired of working with people and creating great images that work hard for my clients.

For a look at some of my personal photos, visit my 500px page. To see additional portrait and editorial work, particularly refugee images shot in the Clarkston, Georgia area, visit my Irista page. For various updates from shoots, and daily life, follow me on Instagram. If you a photographer looking for interesting posts on the craft of photography, I share a range of articles on my Google+ page. And lastly, to read reviews from colleagues and learn more about my company, checkout my LinkedIn profile.

If you’re still unsure about hair, makeup, what to wear, or what to expect, please contact the studio and schedule a no-cost consultation. We can meet in person, you can see the space we’ll be working in and we’ll take a little time to discuss how your headshot needs to work for you and how you would like to be perceived.